By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victorville) – The City Council was personally introduced to SCLA’s newest firefighting tool – the brand new 2012 Oshkosh Striker 3000 airport rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicle. Captain Pete Lawson brought the mammoth truck to City Hall so that City Council members could see it firsthand before the council meeting Tuesday evening.
San Bernardino County Fire Station 319 located at Southern California Logistics Airport took possession of the new ARFF vehicle recently. It is one of four that County Fire uses to maintain the airport’s firefighting capability as mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Lawson. “I’ve been here for a long time and we’ve been trying and trying, but the airport grants are hard to get. A lot of hard work went into trying to get it here.”
The City received a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to purchase the vehicle, but they had to come up with 10% of the $755,000 purchase price, according to Lawson.
The Striker 3000 holds 3000 gallons of water, 420 gallons of Aqueous Film Forming Foam and 450 pounds of Purple K dry chemical agent to combat fires involving flammable liquids. It has a 50 foot Snozzle with a piercing tip for penetrating the skin of an aircraft and 6 wheel drive for operation in difficult terrain. Other features include a camera on the tip of the Snozzle as well as a FLIR camera to aid in the location of heat, fire and passengers.
The vehicle is operated by one crew member. It has 67 buttons in the cab, and the crew at Station 319 is still learning all that it can do. “We’ve only had it a couple of weeks, and there is a big learning curve on it. It is going to take us a little while to get comfortable with it,” said Lawson.
“My favorite thing about it is probably the ride, it is fantastic. It has air ride seats, independent suspension, this thing will just power over everything and you won’t feel it.”
“The main reason is reliability. We have a lot of aircraft coming in here and we need something you can count on starting every time you get into it. The life expectancy of one of these trucks is 20 years and these guys have put that in and then some,” said Lawson.